Need to feed a crowd? Recently I was a hostess at my local garden club monthly meeting. According to club rules, each hostess is asked to bring an appetizer, salad or dessert, keeping in mind that there is always a large attendance. Looking for a unique angle, I chose a hearty, non-green salad from our 177 Milk Street “Tuesday Nights” recipe book: Chicken Salad with Apple, Celery Root and Fennel.
Céléri rémoulade is a classic French slaw-like salad made with celery root and mayonnaise. 177 Milk Street built on that and turned it into this bright, fresh chicken salad; a riff on Waldorf salad if you will. The following recipe is actually a triple version adaptation of the 4-serving recipe that Milk Street published.
The celery root is prepared two ways: Half is cut into matchsticks, half is shredded on the large holes of a box grater. The combination heightens the salad’s textural and visual appeal. When root vegetables (such as celery root) are cut, their cells are ruptured, releasing sugars and volatile hydrocarbons, the source of their sweetness and aromas—and grating ruptures the most cells.
As far as the chicken, simply buy two store-bought rotisserie chickens. Let them cool slightly and remove the skin, then shred all of the dark and light meat, being careful to remove any bones.
The salad was a HUGE hit! I didn’t plan on posting this blog quite so soon, but I got so many requests from garden club members, I decided to make it live the very next day.
Chicken Salad with Apple, Celery Root and Fennel
- 1½ cup mayonnaise
- ¾ cup whole-grain mustard
- ¾ cup drained capers, roughly chopped, plus 1 tablespoon caper brine
- 6 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 rotisserie chickens, skinned, shredded (yields about 2 lbs. of meat)
- 1 large peeled celery root, half cut into 1-inch matchsticks, half shredded on the large holes of a box grater
- 2 granny smith apples, cored, cut into 8 wedges, then sliced very thin
- 1 very large fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1½ cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted
- Remove the skin, then shred the meat from the chicken carcasses.
- Prep all of the vegetables, and toast the walnut pieces.
- In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, capers and brine, lemon juice and 1½ teaspoon pepper.
- Add the chicken, all of the celery root, apple, fennel, parsley and nuts.
- Fold with a rubber spatula until well combined.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a large serving bowl or platter.
Tip: Don’t peel the apple; the skin adds a touch of color. Also, don’t use a sweet apple; the tartness of a Granny Smith perks up the other flavors.